The West Virginia Department of Highways has the responsibility to maintain and repair thousands of miles of public roads and state highways to support the environment and communities that call West Virginia their home. The Department of Highways in West Virginia needed a durable tilt attachment that could withstand the use and abuse of digging in rocky soil. They also wanted a tool that would reduce their reliance on manual labor to perform a variety of tasks such as cleaning ditches, laying and repairing pipes, and removing asphalt. When they added a PowerTilt to their backhoes, they found a tilt attachment that outlasted their previous backhoe without needing any repairs, and it improved their productivity between 30 to 75 percent depending on the task performed.
Before PowerTilt, installing pipe in landscaped areas in West Virginia required a lot of time-intensive manual labor and finish work to clean up the job site. Since the machine couldn't always be leveled to obtain the level bottom in the ditch that these installations required. West Virginia Department of Highways used a PowerTilt to dig the trench to the appropriate depth and width for pipe installation. With PowerTilt, the installation crew could tilt the bucket to level and make the bed for the open-top drain or the drop inlet level.
“With PowerTilt you can save so much time and effort by simply positioning your bucket instead of repositioning the entire machine."
Wyatt Reed, backhoe operator for West Virginia Department of Highways
Since backfill wasn’t allowed into either the open-top drains or the drop inlets, the installation crew previously dumped backfill on the side of the ditch and shoveled it in by hand. Now with PowerTilt, the installation crew simply positions the bucket 45 degrees and drops the fill rock out of the corner of the bucket. Also before PowerTilt, backfilling was a backbreaking manual task accomplished with shovels and a lot of hard work. Now installing the pipe and backfilling the trench is a breeze. They can tilt the bucket to 90 degrees and use the edge of the bucket just like a rake. Then the installation crew can pull the entire excess dirt off the grass or concrete.
PowerTilt not only saved the West Virginia Department of Highways tons of time in the pipe installation, but it also saved them tremendous time on the project clean-up as well, which reduces labor costs and increases productivity. “The PowerTilt cut our project time for installing pipes by 75 percent. Previously, the cleanup in landscaped areas required around six or seven men, and with the PowerTilt, we can now do a much better-looking job, in a lot less time, with around three men (including the operator),” stated Reed.
West Virginia Department of Highways spends a fair amount of time using PowerTilt for pipe repair projects. The repair process starts by digging around both sides of the pipe. Then machine operator tilts the bucket and uses a tooth to loosen the soil around the sides of the pipe. If the pipe just needs to be straightened out, then the operator can tilt the bucket and use a tooth to hook the lip at the end of the pipe and then lift to straighten the pipe. When the pipe needs the end cut off, the operator uses the PowerTilt to tilt the bucket 90 degrees and actually dig under the pipe so they can get all the way around it with a cut-off saw. Before the PowerTilt, the construction crew had to dig under the pipe by hand, which significantly increases the timeline along with the expense.
“When we need to repair a pipe there's no better tool than PowerTilt. A job that may have taken hours before now takes less than 35 percent of the time with the PowerTilt,”
Wyatt Reed, backhoe operator for West Virginia Department of Highways.
Another unexpected benefit of PowerTilt was the ability to use it to break up old asphalt for road prep work and repaving projects. PowerTilt allowed them to remove the asphalt without bringing in a dedicated machine or breaking the asphalt with jackhammers or other intensive manual labor methods. The Department of Highways in West Virginia used the PowerTilt to angle the bucket and then used a tooth to score, or gouge, the asphalt. This process weakens the asphalt allowing the PowerTilt to then break the asphalt and pick it up. The West Virginia Department of Highways reduced labor time by 30 percent by utilizing one machine instead of many for the removal of old asphalt.
With PowerTilt, the West Virginia Department of Highways was able to easily dig the V-shaped ditches by utilizing the 130 degrees of side-to-side swing rotation offered by PowerTilt. Without the PowerTilt, ditches ended up with a ‘'U" profile. PowerTilt also allows the ditching work to be accomplished from the road, diminishing the impact on roadside vegetation. The Department of Highways in West Virginia found the smooth rotation of the PowerTilt to be really helpful for small-angle adjustments, which comes in handy when carving a gentle slope from the roadside to the ditch for optimum runoff and erosion control. As a result, PowerTilt increased the West Virginia Department of Highway's ditching productivity by 50 percent.
West Virginia’s soil is full of rocks and boulders so digging and a hard pounding in this type of environment takes a toll on the backhoe and the backhoe operator. “PowerTilt was used and abused yet it stood up to the abuse better than the backhoe or the operators. We’ve used our PowerTilt over six years and with the exception of daily greasing by the operators, we haven't had to send it into our service department for any repairs,” said Reed. "If PowerTilt ever wears out, I will do everything in my power to make sure the department buys me another one.”
PowerTilt uses Parker’s innovative Helac sliding-spline operating technology to convert the linear piston motion into powerful shaft rotation. Each Helac actuator is composed of a housing and two moving parts - the central shaft and piston. As hydraulic pressure is applied, the piston is displaced axially, while the helical gearing on the piston's outer diameter and housing's ring gear causes the simultaneous rotation of the piston. PowerTilt's end caps, seals, and bearings all work in tandem to keep debris and other contaminants out of the inner workings of the actuator, prolonging product life and reducing required maintenance. PowerTilt is available for equipment up to 75,000 pounds in eight sizes with a standard rotation of up to 180 degrees. Each model is designed for a specific class of machinery and individually customized to fit the carrier.
Learn more about the benefits of Parker’s Helac PowerTilt by visiting solutions.parker.com/powertilt
This article was contributed by Jessica Howisey, marketing communications manager and Daniel Morgado, applications engineer, Helac Business Unit, Cylinder Division.